Truth Initiative, Mayo Clinic introduce new smoking cessation program

WASHINGTON — Truth Initiative, in collaboration with Mayo Clinic, on Thursday announced the EX Program, a quit-smoking program designed for employers, health systems and health plans to offer to their employees and members. The fully digital program expands upon EX, the consumer platform launched in 2008 that has helped more than 800,000 smokers. Research shows that following the EX plan quadruples a smoker's chance of quitting.

"We developed the EX Program to fill a gap in the market," stated Robin Koval, CEO and president of Truth Initiative, a national public health organization. "Organizations are still burdened with the financial and health impacts of smoking, and many are frustrated with the poor results they're seeing from wellness programs. Tobacco use is a complex addiction that requires specialized treatment from a provider with deep expertise and experience. We aim to be that provider."

"The ability to reach smokers with a digital quit smoking program is unprecedented.”

EX Program participants receive digital coaching and medication support from tobacco treatment specialists at the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center and Truth Initiative, along with proven quitting tools and an online community of thousands of smokers and ex-smokers. Employers and health plans receive frequent reports on employee engagement and outcomes, along with guidance on promoting the program and setting workplace tobacco policy. The EX Program also helps employers meet requirements for wellness programs under the Affordable Care Act.

According to the Truth Initiative, statistics make clear why an innovative, advanced approach is needed. As many as 68% of smokers want to quit. And while 55% of smokers make a quit attempt annually, only 7% are successful.

Each year a smoker costs an employer nearly $6,000 more than an employee who has never smoked.

The Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center has a longstanding collaboration with Truth Initiative in delivering EX to consumers. Weekly blogs, and an active presence in the EX community, have established Mayo Clinic as a valued source of expert advice and guidance. "The EX Program eliminates virtually all of the barriers to effective treatment and provides ongoing support through the ups and downs of tobacco cessation," said Taylor Hays, medical director of the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center. "We are excited to build upon our relationship with Truth Initiative in this innovative program."

The EX Program is designed to be as effective as phone-based coaching, but more accessible, flexible and cost effective. Today, 95% of U.S. adults own a cellphone, and nearly 9 in 10 use the Internet. "The ability to reach smokers with a digital quit smoking program is unprecedented. Our research has shown that online, interactive interventions are as effective as face-to-face and quitline interventions, but at far lower costs," said Amanda Graham, SVP innovations at Truth Initiative and head of the EX Program. "With the EX Program, smokers can connect with experts and peers at any time, from any device, for as long as they need. Use of the EX community is an independent predictor of success, and 93% of members say they would recommend EX to other smokers who want to quit."

The EX Program's inaugural health-system client is CHI Mercy Health, a private, not-for-profit medical center in Roseburg, Ore. Mercy, affiliated with the nation's second-largest Catholic health network, will offer the EX Program to employees, patients and all residents of Douglas County.


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